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The Progression from Data Center to Cloud

Posted By Zen Kishimoto, Friday, January 08, 2010
In this blog, I have pointed out several times the confusion about the difference between a data center and a cloud. Some people think a cloud is a mysterious entity floating somewhere without consuming much energy. Data center people tend to focus on the physical components in their data centers and do not have a good grasp of what a cloud is. Very few good explanations have linked the two.

A good friend of mine, Ken Novak, wrote a good blog to explain how a data center evolves into a cloud.


He started with an existing data center and explained how it becomes a cloud in the following progression:
  1. Consolidated data center
  2. Virtual data center
  3. Private cloud
  4. Public cloud

First, the consolidated data center employs virtualization and disk consolidation via networking. This has been done up to this point. Second, the virtual data center enhances the consolidated data center further with advanced virtualization, like virtual machine migration. Third, the private cloud enhances the virtual data center by further enabling automation. Finally, the public cloud enhances the private cloud by supporting many more users with economies of scale.

This is a great classification because there is a definite gap between a conventional data center and a cloud. You cannot jump from an existing data center to a cloud in one leap. I have two comments on this. The first is that it is sometimes hard to distinguish one from the other, especially at the boundary. The second is that private and public clouds are developed for different reasons, and I am not sure whether the public cloud is an evolution of the private cloud. Nevertheless, it is good to have a classification like this.

However, it is not important to define exactly where you stand but to take appropriate action to plan the jump to the next stage of cloudization.

Tags:  Cisco  Cloud  data centers  Ken Novak 

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